Ricciardo rues badly timed Virtual Safety Car


AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 23: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2016 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images). Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo was pleased to make it onto the podium at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, but was clearly disappointed to have been jumped by Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Nico Rosberg, during an inopportune Virtual Safety Car (VSC).

Having got a decent start off the line, the Australian was able to move ahead of Rosberg at the first corner, after the German attempted to pass his team-mate around the outside and lost ground, allowing Ricciardo to squeeze his RB12 through into second place.

“In the beginning of the race the super-soft tyres helped me but the actual start I felt wasn’t really that much better than the Mercedes. Then I saw Nico going to the outside so it gave me an opportunity on the inside.”

A VSC midway through the race however, put paid to him keeping that position, when it allowed Rosberg to make an almost free pit stop, coming out ahead of the 27-year-old on track.

The Australian was clearly annoyed by that turn of events from his comments over team radio, especially in light of the fact it was caused by team-mate Max Verstappen’s parking of the RB12 in a gravel trap, on retiring from the race.

“Obviously I would have loved to have led out of Turn 1 but second was good enough. I tried to stay with Lewis the first couple of laps but then his soft tyres were able to go a bit better. I think we were looking good for P2 but then the Virtual Safety Car didn’t work in our favour today.”

Despite the obvious frustration from losing out in such a manner, Ricciardo was still thrilled to be stood up on the podium in Texas, a venue he loves to visit, and even got Hollywood actor Gerard Butler to partake in the now infamous Ricciardo shoey!

“I’m not going to be too disappointed, it’s just cool to be on the podium here. I love coming here, the anthem was pretty awesome before the race, I had goose bumps, I’m not gonna lie, and then the podium after was great.”

Although they had to take third place in the end, the Australian was pleased with the overall performance of the RB12, and with the fact that they were able to keep up with the Mercedes of Rosberg throughout the race, a definite positive for the Milton Keynes based squad to take away.

They were also able to out-do the sole Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, which sees Red Bull’s lead over the Maranello based squad in the Constructors’ Championship grow ever larger.

“It’s another big bag of points and we at least had Nico’s pace so that’s encouraging and we’ll try and do what we can in the next few days.

“Obviously Max and Kimi had their misfortunes today so it was just me and Seb out there, but we still gained a little bit on Ferrari so we’re looking good. We’ll try and keep going like this and get on the podiums for the last few races.”